Thursday, February 29, 2024

"Cannon to right of them..."

City of London bollard
A City of London bollard.

Walking around the streets of London you will always see metal posts, or bollards, separating the pavement from the road. Many of these, especially the newer ones, are metal or toughened plastic. 

In the city of London these bollards become more ornate, but some of them have a history, are quite old and are not even English.

City of London bollard
More street bollards in the City of London.

During the Battle of Trafalgar, on October 21, 1805, the British plundered all of the French ships, using what they could, before sinking the enemy ships. The French cannon could not be converted for use by the British fleet, so, instead of leaving them to be reused, they were brought back to England and used as bollards, throughout the East End and south London.

Cannons used as bollards
French cannon, used as street bollards, removed during pavement works.

Before they were set in stone each cannon had a ball welded into the barrel, so as to stop it being removed and used against the country.

Cannon in Rotherhithe
Cannon outside the old Royal Navy Victualling Yard, Rotherhithe.

Other cannon, taken during different conflicts, can still be found on display at various locations throughout London, and the rest of the country.

Turkish naval cannon at Greenwich
This is one of two taken by Admiral Sir John Duckworth from Kinali Island, in 1807.

Maltese cannon at the Tower of London
The cast iron cannon is Maltese and dates back to the 1600s!  

There are also British cannon still dotted around the city, as at the HM Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London and along the River Thames around Greenwich and Woolwich.

Cannon at Greenwich
A cannon near Greenwich.

Cannon at the Tower of London
Cannon defending the Tower of London.

So, the next time you wander the streets of London keep an eye out for the cannon bollards, which could be from the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, and the other cannon still 'protecting' the country.

St Katharine Docks cannon
A cannon at St Katharine Docks and Marina.

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